City of Presidio wages ‘war on mosquitoes’ after weeks of heavy rain

PRESIDIO — After an especially heavy monsoon season, Presidio has been hit by a plague of mosquitoes, swarming around front doors and pools of standing water. Citronella candles and torches have become ubiquitous, and local stores have teetered on the verge of selling out of bug spray. Presidio old-timers have learned to swat away the annual mosquito bonanza, but the City of Presidio has taken action to combat the scourge. 

At the last Presidio City Council meeting, Administrator Pablo Rodriguez informed the crowd that the “war on mosquitoes” was ongoing. The city decided to contract with Adrian Flores, a local pest control expert, to fog the city streets from the back of a truck after dusk. “We’re doing the best that we can, and sometimes conditions are just not good to fog,” explained Mayor John Ferguson. “[Flores] is very sensitive to the resources that we have.” 

Flores explained that the fogging is “kind of a luxury” — he grew up in Presidio and doesn’t remember a time where there was an outbreak of mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile virus or malaria. The annual resurgence of these pests is more of a nuisance than it is a public health risk, but that doesn’t mean Presidians are enjoying being eaten alive every time they leave their homes. 

It will take awhile for the fogger to reach every part of town, so Flores preaches patience and taking basic steps to prevent mosquitoes from setting up shop in your backyard. “The grass is super overgrown, it’s overwhelming,” he said. “Make sure you don’t have tires collecting in your backyard or let your weeds get out of control — anywhere that’s going to harbor them. It’s normally where there’s shade and the sun doesn’t shine.” 

Flores has been using a permethrin product for the job — a tried and true weapon against the pests. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, permethrin affects the nervous systems of insects, causing paralysis and death. The chemical doesn’t have the same effect on humans and most animals — it’s broken down easily by the body and doesn’t linger. There are harsher products on the market, but Flores wants to keep things safe and simple. “I’m not going overboard with it,” he said. 

The pest control efforts have been most aggressive in the parts of the city closest to the river, but as the weather permits, Flores has a plan to target each part of town — even parts of the city furthest away from the river have standing water in their creeks from all the dramatic rain. It’ll take time — and it’s a one-man operation. “That person that you see driving around at night, that’s me,” Flores said.